Undergraduate Degree Requirements

Each of the undergraduate colleges on the UC San Diego campus has specific requirements for a degree. (See “Undergraduate Colleges.”)

Changes in Requirements

When a change in graduation requirements is introduced, it is implemented so that continuing students (as defined below) are not substantially hindered in the orderly pursuit of their degrees. Since changes in requirements vary greatly in character, this principle will have different implications for different changes. For purposes of this policy, “continuing students” are those who began higher education at UC San Diego or elsewhere before the change. Colleges and departments may deny protection under this policy to a student who has interrupted his or her education for more than two years.

Students transferring to UC San Diego from another college or university should refer to the “Admission as a Transfer Applicant” section and the undergraduate colleges’ requirements for additional information.

University-wide Graduation Requirements

Undergraduate Major Requirements

All course work required for a degree must be completed by the end of the quarter filed for graduation.

Every candidate for a bachelor’s degree must have completed a major.

Double Majors

With the approval of both departments or programs and approval of the college provost, a student in good standing may declare a double major.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

A knowledge of diversity, equity, and inclusion is required of all candidates for a bachelor’s degree who begin studies at UC San Diego in lower-division standing in fall 2011 or thereafter, or in upper-division standing in fall 2013 or thereafter.

Definition of terms:

American History and Institutions

A knowledge of American history and of the principles of American institutions under federal and state constitutions is required of all candidates for the bachelor’s degree. This requirement may be met in any one of the following ways:

The Analytical Writing Program and UC Entry Level Writing Requirement

The University of California requires all undergraduate students (including international students) to demonstrate a minimum proficiency in English composition (the Entry Level Writing requirement). This proficiency can be demonstrated by any of the means approved by the UC-wide Committee on Preparatory Education and authorized under University-wide Senate Regulation 636. For more information on the various ways to meet the requirement, go to http://www.ucop.edu/elwr/.

All students who have not previously satisfied the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR) must take the UC Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE) prior to enrollment at UC San Diego. Students who do not pass the AWPE are instructed to enroll immediately in the analytical writing course in which they are placed (either AWP 1 or AWP 2A) during their first quarter at UC San Diego. These courses are taught by faculty in UC San Diego’s Analytical Writing Program.

Students placed in AWP 1 will have up to three consecutive quarters to complete the Entry Level Writing requirement. If a student’s AWPE test indicates a need for more English language support, they will be placed in AWP 2A, the first of a two-quarter course designed to offer students more time to develop their critical thinking and writing abilities. Students who enroll in AWP 2A are required to enroll in AWP 2B in the subsequent quarter. Students who complete AWP 2A and AWP 2B and who do not produce a passing portfolio will be instructed to enroll immediately in AWP 1. These students will have up to three more consecutive quarters to pass AWP 1. Successful completion of AWP 2B or AWP 1 will satisfy the Entry Level Writing requirement.

The Entry Level Writing requirement must be satisfied during a student’s first three quarters in which they are enrolled. Exception: Students placed in AWP 2A-B may have up to three consecutive quarters of AWP 1 after they take AWP 2A-B in which to satisfy the Entry Level Writing requirement; either way, students must fulfill the ELWR in five quarters.

Students will not be allowed to enroll in university-level writing courses at UC San Diego until the Entry Level Writing requirement has been satisfied.

The Analytical Writing Program (AWP) also offers courses beyond those that fulfill the English Language Writing requirement. For more information about the UC Entry Level Writing requirement, the Analytical Writing Placement exam, or the Analytical Writing Program’s course offerings, please go to the Analytical Writing Program office in the Literature building, call (858) 534-6177, or visit the program’s website.

Senior Residence

Each candidate for the bachelor’s degree must complete thirty-five of the final forty-five units in residence in the college or school of the University of California in which the degree is to be earned. Under certain circumstances exceptions may be granted by the provost, such as when a student attends classes on another UC campus as an approved visitor or participates in UC Education Abroad, the UCDC Program, or the UC Sacramento Program.

Note: Courses taken through the UC San Diego Extension concurrent enrollment program will not apply toward a UC San Diego student’s senior residency requirement. For further details, see “College General-Education and Graduation Requirements.”

College General-Education and Graduation Requirements

Application for Degree

Undergraduate seniors are required to file a degree and diploma application form with their college academic advising office. Students should check with their college academic advising office for exact deadlines. Advising and counseling sessions should take place well before the quarter of graduation to ensure all degree requirements will be satisfied. Applications not on file by the deadline are subject to special approval. Students who have not completed all degree requirements by the end of the quarter filed for graduation must file a new application. Failure to file this application may delay the receipt of the diploma.

Quarter Limit and Enrollment Beyond the Quarter Limit (for students entering UC San Diego in fall 2019 or thereafter)

Maximum Unit Limitation (for students enrolled at UC San Diego prior to fall 2019)


College Honors at Graduation

The Academic Senate has established the following standards for award of college Honors at graduation:

No more than 14 percent of the graduating seniors on campus shall be eligible for college Honors. Normally, no more than the top 2 percent shall be eligible for summa cum laude and no more than the next 4 percent for magna cum laude, although minor variations from year to year shall be permitted. The remaining 8 percent are eligible for cum laude. The ranking of students for eligibility for college Honors shall be based upon the grade point average. In addition, to be eligible for Honors, a student must receive letter grades for at least seventy-two quarter-units of course work at the University of California. Each college may award Honors at graduation only to those who are eligible to receive college Honors.

Department Honors

Each department or program may award Honors to a student at graduation in accordance with the following criteria:

Honors awarded by departments may be designated on the diploma by the words with distinction, with high distinction, and with highest distinction after the departmental or program name. Currently the departments and majors listed below are approved to award Honors to graduating seniors: anthropology, biology, chemistry, Chinese studies, classical studies, cognitive science, communication, computer science and engineering, critical gender studies, earth sciences, economics, electrical and computer engineering, ethnic studies, German studies, history, human development, international studies, Japanese studies, Jewish studies, linguistics, literature, management science, mathematics, Muir special project, music, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, Roosevelt individual studies, sociology, study of religion, theatre and dance, urban studies and planning, and visual arts.

Provost’s Honors (Quarterly)

Provost’s Honors are awarded quarterly based upon the completion of twelve graded units with a GPA of 3.5 or higher with no grade of D, F, or NP recorded for the quarter.

Undergraduate Minors and Programs of Concentration

A minor curriculum—or “minor” for short—is a set of courses on a well-defined subject. A minor is not required for graduation. A student in good standing may declare an optional minor.

Certain colleges require their students to complete one or more “programs of concentration” before graduation, and the courses or types of courses acceptable for programs of concentration are determined by the faculty of the college or a subcommittee thereof. A program of concentration is not necessarily a minor. Indeed, a program of concentration is a minor only if it meets the criteria above, and only then may it be listed on a student’s transcript as a minor. Otherwise it will be recorded as a concentration at graduation.